The one sentence summary
Successful company cultures need honesty and meaning, allowing people to be themselves and do work that makes sense.
- In the past, businesses made people conform to the organization’s needs. That doesn’t work any more.
- Leaders need to attract the right people, keep them and inspire them to do their best work.
- The authors propose six attributes of a healthy company culture:
Difference: Let people be themselves
Radical honesty: Let people know what’s really going on
Extra value: Magnify people’s strengths
Authenticity: Stand for something more than just shareholder value
Meaning: Make the work make sense
Simple rules: Make the rules clear and apply equally to everyone
- What makes work meaningless?
- Scale (companies too big)
- Division of labour (silos and lack of connection between people and tasks)
- Time lags (big gaps between doing things and their eventual outcome)
- Connection, community, and cause lead to good morale and effort.
- Rule creep and complexity in companies actually lead to value loss. Trusting people to do the right thing works best.
- The best leaders are almost invisible:
“A leader whose existence is unknown to his subordinates is really the most brilliant one.” Zhang Ruimin, CEO of Chinese company Haier
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
- There are a set of diagnostic tools and questions to work out whether the culture is healthy.
- Don’t make promises that you can’t keep.
- Don’t try too much.
- Ipartheid is the dominance of white, male, well-educated technology managers in Silicon Valley
- HiPos are high potential employees
- NEETs are young people Not in employment, education or training
- The average length of share ownership is now just 22 seconds, so most shareholder value is taken on the fly by those not properly involved.
WHAT YOU HAVE TO WATCH
- The DREAMS acronym is a bit hit and miss, and is inconsistently applied from flyleaf, to chapter heading, to body copy.